solar

Big Companies Offer Employees a Solar Bargain

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in photovoltaic

More than 100,000 employees of several large corporations will get the chance to buy or lease photovoltaic (PV) systems for their homes at discount prices, thanks to a group-buying plan hatched by the World Wildlife Fund.

Are Solar-Plus-Battery Systems Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in battery

Solar-plus-battery systems that combine photovoltaic panels and lithium-ion batteries are helping a number of commercial electricity customers cut their power bills, but any widespread spillover to the residential side of the market looks to be some time away. Two solar installers, SolarCity, and SunPower, are offering the systems to residential customers, yet the numbers in the pilot programs are very modest.

Government Lab Seeks A Way to Boost Solar Loans

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in NREL

Both homeowners and bankers could benefit from an initiative at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory aimed at lowering barriers to more loans for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) installations. NREL's "Banking on Solar" program brings together more than 50 financial, energy, and research interests to discuss ways of making it easier for homeowners and businesses to borrow money to install solar systems. While lenders are beginning to offer loan products, NREL said in a news release, some barriers remain.

California Regulators Side With Solar

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in California

Hundreds of battery-backed PV installations that have been delayed by red tape and extra fees should be connected to the grid under a proposed decision from state regulators, Greentech Media reports.

Maine Utility Seeks Surcharge for Renewables

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in Central Maine Power

Maine's largest electric utility is seeking permission from state regulators to impose a new “standby” rate that would add roughly $13 to the monthly bill of a residential customer with a grid-tied renewable energy system. The plan would tack on $24.83 a month to the Central Maine Power power bill for a net-metered residential customer vs. the flat $12 charge for a customer without renewables, CMP said. The proposal is part of a rate case before the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Don’t Hire a Cleaning Crew to Wash Your Solar Panels

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in photovoltaic

Worried that your rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels are cranking out less power than they should because they're dusty? Don't be. Paying someone to wash them is likely to cost more than what you'd gain in electrical output, engineers at the University of California, San Diego, said.

Solar Panels Are Now a ‘No-Brainer’

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in photovoltaic

Photovolatic (PV) arrays are becoming a standard feature in new houses, just as granite countertops once made the transition from expensive novelty to mainstream amenity, according to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek.

An Entire Town Aims For Net-Zero

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in net-zero

In Lancaster, California, net-zero energy is taking on a whole new meaning. The city of 150,000, about an hour north of Los Angeles, will require most new homes to include photovoltaic panels as it tries to becomes the first city to produce more solar electricity than the city consumes on a daily basis.

North Carolina Mulls Renewable Energy Rollback

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in electric utility

A bill narrowly approved by a North Carolina legislative committee would repeal renewable energy requirements established in 2007.

Das Haus Tour

Posted on April 28,2015 by CarlSeville in Das Haus

I attended an event in October called the Das Haus tour – a prefab “house” sponsored by the German Consulate General that will be roaming the country for about a year. The first stop was in Atlanta, so although I was one of the first people to see it, I don’t understand the point of the venture.

I’m Beginning to Really Hate Eco-Bling

Posted on April 28,2015 by CarlSeville in geothermal

On hearing the news that three photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers, at least one a recipient of federal loan money, have recently declared bankruptcy, I once again started thinking about my frustration with people’s attachment to putting cool “stuff” on their buildings before making sure that those buildings actually operate well.

Solar Versus Superinsulation: A 30-Year-Old Debate

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in active solar

The oil price shock of 1973 sparked a burst of interest in “solar houses.” During the 1970s, owner-builders all over the U.S. erected homes with extensive south-facing glazing — sometimes sloped, sometimes vertical. Many of these houses included added thermal mass — concrete floors, concrete-block walls, or 55-gallon drums filled with water.

Testing a Thirty-Year-Old Photovoltaic Module

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in photovoltaic

In 1980, after living in the woods of Vermont without electricity for five years, I bought my first photovoltaic (PV) module. Responding to a small ad in Mother Earth News, I sent a check to Joel Davidson, a back-to-the-land urban refugee who was facilitating a bulk purchase of PV panels. From his off-grid acreage in Pettigrew, Arkansas, Davidson was selling 33-watt Arco Solar modules for $275 each. Many people ask, “How long do solar panels last?” To mark the 30th anniversary of my first PV module, I decided to climb up on my roof and bring it down for testing.

7 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House: 7. Renewable Energy

Posted on April 28,2015 by Betsy Pettit in hydro

Editor's introduction: With energy prices rising again, many homeowners are planning energy-efficiency improvements to their homes. But most people are unsure of where to begin, and even seasoned builders don’t always know which priorities should rise to the top of the list. Betsy Pettit, an architect at [Building Science Corporation](http://www.buildingscience.com), recommends starting where you can get the most bang for the buck.

Closing in on HOA Solar-Installation Restrictions

Posted on April 28,2015 by Fretboard in community restrictions

One of the sideshows in the relatively slow growth of renewable energy in the U.S. has been the conflict between homeowners associations and property owners when the latter want to install solar power.

Thinking About Net Zero Energy

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in near zero

UPDATED March 28, 2013

The average new home is so poorly built, it’s enough to make an environmentalist weep. Windows are routinely installed without any consideration of orientation. As a result, south windows fail to take full advantage of free solar heat during the winter, while west windows worsen summer overheating. Windows are often installed in unshaded walls, even in hot climates. In the absence of legal requirements for high-performance windows, builders regularly choose windows with appalling U-factors and solar heat gain coefficients (SHGCs).

Rice University’s Ze-Row Preview

Posted on April 28,2015 by Fretboard in near zero

The Solar Decathlon team from Texas offers a peek at its entry for the fall contest We’re still five months from the kickoff of the 2009 Solar Decathlon, which will run October 8-18 in Washington, D.C. But one of the 20 teams of university students selected to compete is offering the public a preview of its entry, an 800-square-foot structure called the Ze-Row House.

Arizona Solar-Marketing Program Targets Realtors

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in Green Building News

Solar-Equipment Dealers Offer Commissions to Realtors PHOENIX, Ariz. — A solar-equipment trade group called the Arizona Solar Power Society (ASPS) has developed a program to transform real-estate agents into solar equipment salespeople.

County Encourages Green Building

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in Green Building News

##Boulder, CO to Issue Energy Efficiency Retrofit Bonds BOULDER, CO — Voters in Boulder County, Colorado, have voted to approve a program to provide homeowners with county-backed loans to finance the installation of photovoltaic systems and residential energy-efficiency improvements (for example, air-sealing work or insulation upgrades).

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